I’ve accomplished a lot—graduated from NYU, work as a junior executive, own a nice house, earn a great salary, and drive a luxury car. I’ve accomplished what most men in their early thirties have only dreamt about. There’s just one problem. Ever since my relationship ended I can’t seem to stop going to sex clubs, XXX bookstores and the like to screw around with guys I’ve never met. I’ve hooked up with gorgeous young guys at the bookstore and I really get turned on especially when we suck each other off in a booth. Some days I’ve hooked up with 3 or 4 guys. I often look forward to going to the bookstore during lunchtime, after work, sometimes at night. The excitement is so fulfilling, it’s such a challenge for me to stop. I’ve admitted to myself that I have a problem with anonymous sex and lately I must say I’ve been able to control myself from going. I figure it would be easier to stop if I had a boyfriend. Can you give me some suggestions where I can meet quality guys? I’ve tried the Internet, clubs, social events, meetings, etc. but I always come up snake eyes.
— Horny and bewildered
A boyfriend is going to help you the way low alcohol beer is going to help an alcoholic. It’ll slow the addiction, but not by much. In the end, the only thing your boyfriend will become is another obstacle to avoid in getting to the bookstore.
Thank God you’ve at least admitted you have a problem. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s guys who cloak their compulsive need for anonymous sex with high-minded talk of sexual freedom. There is no freedom in being chained to your desires.
Sexual addiction is a recognized disorder and it follows very closely the pattern of any addiction—a binge that creates the high, followed by guilt, regret, and a promise to stop, which is followed by an extraordinary hunger for the INSERT ADDICTION HERE, the creation of breathtakingly self-serving justifications for the destructive behavior, and then the binge. Repeat, oh, five or six hundred times and you’ve got a full-fledged addiction.
So how can you tell if you’re a sex addict? I’d say it’s the same process as figuring out if you’re gay. If you have to ask yourself the question the answer is yes.
There’s nothing wrong with anonymous sex if it isn’t getting in the way of work, love or life. But when what you’re doing starts doing you, when your want becomes a need, when the organizing principle of your life becomes getting a “fix,” you’ve got a problem. And might I add a big one.
The essence of all addiction is the experience of powerlessness over a compulsive behavior. Addicts get to a point where they want to stop, try and repeatedly fail. They suffer. They lose relationships, have difficulties with work, get arrested, have financial troubles, lose interest in non-sexual activities and end up with a rock-bottom self-esteem and an endless sense of despair. You know, like coming home from the bars empty handed.
You have three options:
- Find a good sex therapist.
- Attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. Check out www.sexaa.org
- Read the best book on the subject: Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes.